Activity Overview

Symbols of Greek Gods: Activity Overview

The symbols are extremely important when discussing the ancient Greek cultur and myths. Both major and minor gods had symbols and physical attributes that identified them. Each god and goddess had their own domain of power and influence, which often pointed to items, plants, and wild animals.

In this activity, students will create representations of various Greek gods, the number of which is at the teacher's discretion. Students will create a traditional storyboard with titles (names) and descriptions of each Greek god and their symbols. In each cell, students need to depict the god with a scene and at least one item or animal.

The example below includes the twelve Olympians and an additional four. Hades and Hestia are siblings of Zeus, Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and wife to Hades, and Hercules is a famous demi-god who ascended to Olympus at his death. Feel free to provide your students a list of deities and their signs, or even have them illustrate as many as they can think of!

Greek God Symbols

  1. Zeus: Zeus is the king of the gods; He is the god of thunder, throwing lighting bolts from the sky. His symbols include the sky, the eagle, and the lightning bolt.

  2. Hera: Hera is Queen of the gods, wife of Zeus, and is the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires. Hera symbols include the peacock, the diadem, and the cow.

  3. Poseidon: Brother to Zeus, king of all the water and its creatures. Poseidon symbols include the sea, his trident, and the horse.

  4. Demeter: Zeus's sister, she is goddess of agriculture and the harvest, and is responsible for growth. Demeter symbols are the cornucopia, grain, and field.

  5. Hephaestus: The god of fire. He is known for the tools and crafts he creates. Symbols associated with Hephaestus are the hammer, volcano, and forge.

  6. Aphrodite: The goddess of love, beauty, and desire who is said to be the most beautiful of all the goddesses. Aphrodite symbols include the rose, the dove, and the mirror.

  7. Apollo: The god of music and arts, knowledge, healing, plague, prophecy, manly beauty, and archery. He is represented by the sun, serpent, and a lyre.

  8. Artemis: Twin sister of Apollo, goddess of the hunt, and represented by the moon, deer/stag, and a bow.

  9. Athena: Athena is the goddess of skill, peace, warfare, and wisdom. Athena symbols include the owl, architecture, and Medusa’s head.

  10. Ares: Known as the god of war, son of Zeus and Hera, Ares symbols include the spear, boar, and the shield.

  11. Hermes: God of travel, trade, and communication. He is more commonly referred to as the messenger god. Hermes symbols include winged sandals, a winged hat, and a caduceus.

  12. Dionysus: Dionysus is the god of wine and parties. Dionysus symbols include wine/grapes and exotic animals.

  13. Hades:More than just a god, Hades is King of the Underworld.

  14. Hestia: Goddess of the home and chastity. Hestia symbols include home, hearth, and sacred fire.

  15. Persephone: Persephone is the goddess of spring and summer, and the Queen of the Underworld. Her symbols include spring and pomegranate.

  16. Hercules: Heracles is a mighty hero, most known for freeing Prometheus from his eternal chains. His symbols include Nemean lion skin and a club.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard depicting important symbols for Olympians in Greek Mythology.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify important symbols for each god or goddess.
  3. Illustrate each cell with appropriate images, scenes, characters, and items.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/7] Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus)


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Create a storyboard that identifies important symbols in the story. Illustrate each symbol and write a short description that explains the significance to the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Symbols
All symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story.
Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete.
Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No symbols are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the symbols and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the symbols, and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depictions chosen for symbols are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.

Frequently Asked Questions about Greek Gods and Goddesses' Symbols

Why did Greek gods have symbols?

The Greek gods were often associated with certain symbols or attributes, which helped to identify and distinguish them from one another. These could be animals, plants, objects, or even specific colors or numbers, and they were often used in art and literature to represent the gods and their characteristics.

For example, Zeus, the king of the gods, was often depicted with a lightning bolt, which symbolized his power and authority. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, was associated with the owl, which was seen as a symbol of wisdom and intelligence. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was often represented by a dove, which symbolized love and peace.

What are the symbols and meanings of Greek mythology?

There were many other things associated with the various gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. For example, Poseidon, the god of the sea, was often depicted with a trident, which symbolized his control over the oceans. Apollo, the god of music and poetry, was often shown with a lyre, a stringed instrument that he was said to have invented.

How do I use templates for gods and goddesses symbols?

If you are interested in using templates, there are many resources available online. You could also try looking for books or other resources on Greek mythology that include information associated with the various gods and goddesses.

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